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Customer Review

3,078 of 3,118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extreme Review Of Extraordinary Printer, November 10, 2010
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This review is from: Brother HL-2270DW Compact Laser Printer with Wireless Networking and Duplex (Office Product)
The Brother HL-2270DW is the follow-up to the immensely popular HL-2170W. The 2170W was popular for its amazing value and print quality. It was also wildly popular because of a neat toner trick to get it to print more pages out of the toner, even when the printer claimed the toner needed replacing. The one big knock of the 2170W was the difficult wireless setup and for being only able to use one network connection at a time-- either Ethernet or WiFi. The 2270DW adds an automatic duplexer and also improves performance.

- Fast, fast, fast
- Great print quality
- 3 connectivity options including WiFi
- Automatic duplexer
- Supports Windows XP/2000/Vista/7, Mac OS X, and various Linux distros
- Good looking
- Great value

- Starter toner rated at only 700 pages
- Slight curl for duplex printouts
- Uses different and more expensive toner than 2170W
- WiFi limited to 802.11b/g

Once upon a time, I used to have an NEC laser printer, a generic scanner, and an Epson photo printer all on my desk. Well that got old and I consolidated to a multifunction printer and the last 3 printers I owned have all been color inkjet MFP's. The advantages were many but the one drawback was major. The cost per page for inkjet prints became huge, even when printing in black & white. Many color inkjet printers still use color inks when printing in black & white, thus requiring you to replace not only the black ink cartridges, but some of the color ones as well. For me, magenta and yellow frequently ran out, even though we ONLY ever printed in black & white. I'd finally had enough and sought out a solution. As recently as 3 weeks ago, I was able to purchase the 2170W for my parents for a great price and was going to get one myself but they all went out of stock or had gone up in price. Then I found out that they were being discontinued and the 2270DW was the newer model. I pulled the trigger and have not looked back.

2270DW vs. 2170W
The difference between the older 2170W and the newer 2270DW isn't limited to just the change in exterior color. Considering that the base MSRP remains the same, the 2270DW is an outstanding bargain. The 2270DW is slightly faster at 27ppm vs. 22ppm for the 2170W. The 2270DW also uses a 200MHz processor vs. the old 181MHz CPU. The dimensions are identical except that the 2270DW is half an inch taller and happens to weigh almost a half a pound more. I'm guessing the automatic duplexer is responsible for the slightly larger size. Brother also decided to get cheap and included a starter toner rated for only 700 pages, whereas the 2170W was 1000 pages or 2 full reams of paper. The 2270DW also adds GDI printing

The toner and drum are pre-installed but you have to remove it and prep (shake) it before use. I found the Quick Start Guide to be pretty clear and useful for all three connection methods. WiFi configuration is still a bit hokey, but it was easy enough in my opinion.

The USB install was a cinch. Install the drivers off of the disc or download them from Brother's website, then plug the USB cable (not included) into your computer and you're good to go.
Though the printer's wireless abilities are nice to have, I prefer to use the Ethernet connection to plug the printer directly into my wireless router. This still allows me to print wirelessly from my laptop and via a hardware switch from my desktop. I also don't have to fiddle with the wireless settings and have a stronger, more reliable connection through my router. Using the install wizard, I selected Peer-to-Peer Network Printer as my preferred network print type and was off and running. I performed the same setup on my laptop over WiFi and installed perfectly. One note, I could not quickly find the MAC address to the Ethernet port so I disabled MAC filtering on my router temporarily. If you don't use MAC filtering, then you have nothing to worry about. Afterwards, I found out that you can print the settings from within the Brother print driver and find the MAC address.
I think a lot of people think they need a WiFi printer to print wireless but most people have wireless routers already that they can just connect the printer to with an Ethernet cable. A printer with WiFi is really only useful if it won't be attached to your router and want it completely independent. As with the 2170W, the 2270DW requires it to be temporarily connected by USB cable or Ethernet to configure the wireless settings, unless, your wireless router supports WiFi Protected Setup or AOSS. The installation wizard on the CD-ROM is pretty straight-forward and I found the install to be painless. Although, if you are using MAC filtering and not broadcasting your SSID, you'll probably want to reverse those temporarily to configure it then switch it back. This is especially true if you are trying to configure the WiFi AFTER you've already set it up by Ethernet and using BRAdmin to do it. To find the internal wireless card's MAC address, hold down the Go button for 10 seconds until it prints a network config page that will enable/disable WiFi and also show you the MAC address. I don't really need WiFi so I only performed the install for the sake of reviewing the procedure.

Time to print has been improved on the 2270DW by nearly 2 seconds, so less time warming up from sleep or off. The actual print speed improvement is less noticeable but 27ppm is insanely fast. I thought my Consumer Reports #1 rated, HP All-in-One Printer was pretty fast, but the 2270DW is at least twice as fast. Text output, even really tiny fonts, looked great. Graphics were also very good. The 2270DW still supports the most current PCL printer language, developed by HP. Oddly though, Brother decided to add GDI capabilities, which is also known as host-based printing and is typically used on low-end printers that put all the printer processing burden on the PC, rather than on the printer's hardware. For example, Brother's bare-bones, cheap 2140 laser printer is GDI only. The 2270DW already has PCL 6 support so I don't see any benefit to having GDI. Even if using a high-end PC might possibly achieve faster to-print speeds, I would think the extra load put on the PC would be a hindrance over just letting the printer's hardware take care of it. I would personally never buy a GDI-only printer. Lastly, given how recently this printer was released, I'm disappointed they didn't include the better 802.11n Wifi support.

The 2270DW is noisier than the 2170W, so if you didn't like the 2170W for its noise, then you definitely won't like the noise from the 2270DW. The fan does stay on for several minutes after it prints but shuts off eventually and then becomes totally silent. The sounds of a laser printer are a welcome change from the wonky noises that my inkjet printers made.

If you decide to use the automatic duplexer, it will add more time to your printouts, but what a convenience to not have to manually flip over sheets of paper. Brother rates the duplexer speed to 10 sides per minute. I've always liked the idea of using both sides of a sheet of paper. Save them trees! The duplexer on the 2270DW works well and I have not had any jams, knock on the wood of one of those trees I just saved. Aside from having network printing, the duplexer is my favorite feature of the 2270DW. The only downside to using the duplexer is that it has a noticeable curl. A commenter suggested that heavier paper (24 lb) as opposed to the more commonly used 20 lb paper might help reduce the curl and paper jams.

The drivers for the 2270DW include a lot of customization options for your printer, including using the Toner Saver Mode, which is similar to Draft Mode in inkjet printers. Unless you are printing a resume, the Toner Saver Mode is more than good enough for daily print jobs. Additionally, Brother laser printers have the ability to upgrade firmware. Given that the 2270DW is brand new, this is an important ability to note because bug fixes and performance improvements are sure to become available down the road. The most current version of the firmware as of this writing is v1.02. You can also install various administrator utilities for configuration and monitoring (BRAdmin). I used BRAdmin to change the Sleep time from 3 minutes to 2. Another neat feature is that you can use web based management by putting the IP address of your printer into a web browser. This is a great way to review settings and other useful information like how many pages you've printed, remaining drum life, serial number, and firmware version.

The high-yield (2600 pages) genuine Brother toner (TN450) from Amazon is currently $46, which equates to about 1.8 cents per page. That is ridiculous! It is so much cheaper than most inkjets, which can cost between 4 cents and 8 cents per page of text. The only bummer is that the Brother drum unit (DR420) currently costs $84. At that price, if my 2270DW's drum needed replacing, I would probably just end up buying a new printer. The drum is rated at 12,000 pages, which is 24 reams of paper. A lot of factors go into when the drum unit should be replaced but given that I personally don't print more than a ream of paper per year, it would last me 24 years, or basically the life of the printer. Factoring in the cost of a new drum unit, I calculated the cost per page to only increase to 2.5 cents per page. Whenever 3rd party toner cartridges become available, the overall cost is sure to drop even more.

RE: Toner trick. I believe Brother wised up and created the new TN450 toner specifically to address the toner trick. I could not find any holes or openings in the toner or drum unit that could be covered up like the 2170W's TN360 toner. As long as I get close to the rated output for the toner, I'm ok with this. One of the reasons why the toner trick for the 2170W was so lauded is because Brother's method for measuring the toner was inaccurate. I am hopeful that they have improved their measurement method and the trick is no longer necessary.

I love the 250 sheet main paper tray because I no longer have to feed the paper tray on a monthly basis. The manual feed "slot" only accepts one sheet at a time to feed labels and envelopes. Since I use self-adhesive envelopes, I refrained from printing on them. Also, though I was very tempted to, I did not feed any of my inkjet labels through the manual feed slot. Brother does not recommend using inkjet paper due to the risk of paper jams.

I found the multifunctional "Go" button to be confusing. I think a cheat sheet card would have been very helpful to keep all the functions straight. For example, you can hold it down for various lengths of time to make it do different things like reprinting the last print job or pushing it several times in order to continue printing when the low toner warning light comes on.

The 2270DW uses more energy during printing than the 2170W, but less in standby mode.

Out of the 11 monochrome laser printers that Consumer Reports tested, only 2 garnered their "Recommended" rating. Both were Brother printers.

I can't imagine the Brother HL-2270DW not reaching the same heights that the HL-2170W did. The 2270DW performs very well, has great features, and is inexpensive to buy and to operate. If I didn't still need a scanner, my HP multifunction printer would be banished from my home. I highly recommend the Brother HL-2270DW for any home, home office or small office.
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Tracked by 26 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 228 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 10, 2010, 4:35:41 PM PST
AG says:
Your review says that this printer is compatible with Macs...where did you find this info? Have you tried it with a Mac? I just want to make sure it will work with my computer.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2010, 4:58:02 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 3, 2014, 10:36:06 PM PST
Ed says:
Hi A. Goldfine,

Specifically, the 2270DW supports Mac OS X 10.4.11 - 10.6.x. This is according to Brother. I have not tried it with a Mac but the box comes with Mac drivers as well as installation instructions. I hope that helps.

Here's the link to the 2270DW support page with drivers and software:

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2010, 5:29:29 PM PST
All my questions answered, plus those I didn't even think to ask - thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2010, 7:53:40 PM PST
Ed says:
Thank you Maine Character! That might be the nicest compliment I've received yet for one of my reviews.

Posted on Nov 18, 2010, 8:46:03 PM PST
Jimmy Doan says:
Does the toner trick still work on this model as well?

Posted on Nov 21, 2010, 9:30:20 AM PST
Akamai22 says:
Really excellent review; thank you for the effort.
Regarding the curling issue with duplexing... what weight paper were/are you using? I have found that my current laser printer (HP) works a lot better and jams less using 24# paper (and the paper just feels better) rather than the 20# most people use. When you buy a case at the warehouse club, there's not much of a price difference.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 21, 2010, 2:11:20 PM PST
Ed says:
Hi Jimmy. I think Brother wised up and modified the new toner. I could not find a similar hole or opening to cover in the TN450 toner. Supposedly when the printer complains of low toner you can still force it to keep printing for a period but I don't know at what point it finally will stop allowing print jobs. Maybe someone who uses up their toner more quickly than I can try some tricks but at the moment, I'd have to guess that Brother put a stop to the old TN360 toner trick.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 21, 2010, 2:14:43 PM PST
Ed says:
Thanks so much Akamai22! I hadn't thought of the paper weight but you are probably right. I am using 20# paper but when I run out, I may look for some heavier paper. Thanks for the advice!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 23, 2010, 7:55:07 PM PST
Dark Helmet says:
I'd recommend going with 28#. Staples sells really nice 28# laser paper for $11 a ream. Much cheaper than the HP 28#, with a great quality and feel. The opaqueness is great too, so you don't have text showing through except if you shine a light from behind.

I use it on my HL2070W and there's almost no page curl. The only time I've ever had a paper jam was when I was using the rear exit path and the paper piled up to the point it couldn't exit the printer.

Just look for the yellow package with the star on the front.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2010, 12:27:31 PM PST
Ed says:
I'll keep that in mind Dark Helmet. Maybe I'll pick up a ream of each type and see how they fare.
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